At 26 weeks pregnant your baby is growing a lot and developing quickly. You are reaching an important stage in your baby's development.
Why? Well, by 27 weeks pregnant you will be entering the third trimester of your pregnancy. From here you can begin to make final preparations for the birth and get ready for the arrival of your little one.
26 weeks pregnant: Baby
When you are 26 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs around 2lbs and is roughly 35cm long – about the size of a small pineapple! If your baby was to be born at this date, they would have a very good likelihood of surviving with lots of care from healthcare specialists.
He is beginning to open his eyes and breathing practise is also starting at this date. Though he can't see much, he will respond to light, so try shining a torch at your stomach, he may well react with a few kicks!
Your baby is also beginning to hear now too, as his brainwave activity develops he will be able to hear noises. He will respond by an increase in movement or just a faster pulse rate.
At 26 weeks pregnant, if your baby's thumb floats towards him in the womb he will automatically suck it. This is because he is practising his sucking technique so he’s ready when he is born. Watch to see if you can see him sucking his thumb in your next ultrasound.
26 weeks pregnant: You
Your baby may now be making himself known through kicks and jumps. You might even be able to see legs or arms poking through your skin at times. Even though he is very active by now, he will still have times of quiet and lots of sleep. You might be quite aware of these sleep cycles by now, but if you are worried your baby hasn't moved for a while, contact your GP or midwife.
You may be feeling other symptoms in your own body, such as:
- Skin – As your hormones are in constant flux when you are 26 weeks pregnant, you may experience more spots than normal. Your skin could also become itchy and dry out due to your body's changes. Use natural products where possible and remember to drink plenty of water. Try to remain cool where you can and only wear loose fitting clothes so you stay comfortable.
- Migraines – if you are prone to headaches and migraines it's likely you will have more during pregnancy. You can't take strong migraine medicines, so try things like massage and meditation to help reduce stress. Often headaches will start to reduce during the second trimester as you become more used to the crazy hormones flying around your body, so being 26 weeks pregnant this symptom should be bothering you less. If you experience headaches and migraines in your third trimester speak to you doctor as this could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
- Clumsiness and 'pregnancy brain' – Many mothers to be find they forget information and are also more clumsy than usual. Though it is not entirely proven why pregnancy causes forgetfulness, rest assured it is completely normal. Just keep more notes than usual and write lists of things to remember. Clumsiness is caused by a shift in your centre of gravity as well as possible extra weight. Try to take extra care when you're in slippery or difficult to manoeuvre areas, like the shower or bathroom.
- Sleep – sleep might by now be pretty uncomfortable! Lie on your side if you can as if you lie on your back your baby has to find a comfortable position around your backbone, which isn't easy!
- Hair – Pregnancy, week 26, can be tough. But with all these new pains and feelings the good news is your hair is probably looking the best it ever has. The high levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body will make your hair full-bodied and shiny. You don't have any more hair than usual however, but you are loosing it less rapidly than before you were pregnant. Your hair may also change its texture: if you had very curly hair before becoming pregnant you may find it has suddenly become straighter.
26 weeks pregnant: Antenatal Classes
If you haven't started with antenatal classes already, you should probably do this in the next few weeks. These classes should give you information about the birth and also about the first days of being a parent.
What else should I think about in week 26 of pregnancy?
Try to get prepared by buying baby items ahead of time. If you are on a budget there are plenty of ways to save money and still equip your little one with everything they will need. Try websites which help parents to recycle or sell used baby items like clothes for free for a fraction of their original cost. You may have friends who are willing to donate used items to you when their babies have got too big. Remember to give anything that has been used before a good clean with an antibacterial wash before you use it. If you decide to buy a second-hand cot, always replace the mattress before your baby comes.
26 weeks pregnant: Health checks
In pregnancy week 26 your doctor will check the baby's position, which is likely to keep changing from now on. The doctor may also want to test you for gestational diabetes, which is a temporary form of diabetes that can occur during pregnancy. Other tests such as Rh antibodies may also be done, as well as anaemia, which is caused by a lack of iron.
26 weeks pregnant: Preparing the siblings
Remember if this is not your first baby, siblings can feel utterly overwhelmed at the prospect of a new member of the family. Good ways to make this less daunting for your baby's brother or sister is to include them in important decisions such as choosing a name or even just helping you to pick out a baby grow they like. At 26 weeks pregnant, it’s a good time to start involving your other child. Helping to welcome the new baby will have a big impact on him and will mark the start of a happy and healthy sibling relationship.
At 26 weeks pregnant, you are reaching an important stage in your baby's development as by 27 weeks you will be entering the third trimester of your pregnancy. From here you can begin to make final preparations for the birth and get ready for the arrival of your little one!